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Magazine editor doubles down on anti-Welsh language rhetoric following backlash

07 Feb 2022 4 minutes Read
The Critic magazine covers

A magazine editor has doubled down on anti-Welsh language rhetoric following an online backlash.

The Critic had come under fire for an article by writer Jonathan Meades that described attempts to increase the number of Welsh speakers as a “totalitarian project” and the “moribund” language itself as a tool of “self-harm and curtailment”.

Huw Edwards and others had criticised the publication of the derogatory article, with the Welsh newsreader saying: “Meades is a brilliant writer and I have enjoyed his work over many years. I can only assume he’s skint. Nothing else can explain this bilge.”

The magazine’s editor Christopher Montgomery, has lashed out at the torrent of criticism in a series of angry tweets.

The former strategist for the Tory eurosceptic group, the ERG, who was previously Chief of Staff to Northern Irish unionist party, the DUP, said:  “Who knew that smug, entitled, tax-spoonfed, middle class, midwit cultural chauvinists would also be brittle, screechy & intolerant? ‘Official languages’ aren’t just languages for self-serving officials, they’re also dear to the Konrad Henleins of Twitter.

“Twitter *is* a false metric, but the state of this Down pointing backhand index.

“Death threats, threats of violence, whinging appeals to censorship, obnoxiously solipsistic cries of RACISM (for being disagreed with on a public policy hobbyhorse: namely mandatory, artificial, taxpayer funded bilingualism).

“Proponents of, ‘more Welsh, because!’ will be better than the frothing reaction to Jonathan Meades yesterday. All the best people aren’t on Twitter. Some of the smuggest people are. ‘I’m paid considerably more by the Beeb than yew’ being a particularly telling reaction.”

“It’s almost as if there’s an agenda, rather than some natural swelling up of what people actually prefer to do. The people with the agenda definitely don’t like it being pointed out. And they get remarkably angry if Marseilles-based writers presume to do so. The dirty English dog.”

Social media expert Owen Williams responded: “I don’t understand, Christopher. Your periodical published a rather poor piece on the ‘need’ for a language the author doesn’t speak, and you’re *surprised* by the somewhat venomous reaction from speakers of said language? Help me out here. What did you expect?

‘One million people’ 

In his column for The Critic, Jonathan Meades wrote: “This is the Welsh Government’s totalitarian project which aims to have one million people speaking Welsh by that date. That’s twice the (much exaggerated) number that is currently claimed to speak the language. What, in this context, does ‘speak’ mean?

“The capacity to make a simple purchase? Or the ability to discuss why R.S. Thomas, a fundamentalist nationalist whose politics could be ugly and naive but whose poetry is thrillingly harsh, seldom composed in Welsh (which he had begun to learn in middle age) and then with a certain trepidation. Thomas wrote of his compatriots: ‘An impotent people sick with inbreeding.’

“In an effort to maintain that sickness, a minimum of 60 extra ‘Welsh-medium nursery groups’ will be opened by 2026. Why? Why teach a moribund language whose survival depends on ‘initiatives’? Policy decrees these speakers are needed. Needed for what? For the sake of Welshness perhaps, to give the bogus bardic tradition new legs?”

The writer also complained about the move to give Welsh and English “equal” status in Wales, and claimed that the Welsh Government has a “splendid breeding programme based on lebensborn: women will be paid to bear children so that they can be brought up Welsh”.

He suggested that the policy for a bilingual Wales was putting children in a “linguistic straightjacket”.

For reasons that are not immediately apparent, the slogan of The Critic is: “The magazine of ideas for open-minded readers.”


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Richard
Richard
3 months ago

Send for Grayham to sort this out – straight talking needed….

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
3 months ago

The Critic is criticised over an ignorant article, the editor spits out his dummy then has a pointless rant. A repetitive chore in his job I suppose. I wonder which thesaurus site he used. How sensitive, what a prat.

William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
3 months ago

This is a case of the Pot calling the Kettle black. Back in the BAD old days of EMPIRE indigenous people(s) were punished, often violently if they did not play ball and succumb to speaking with the forked tongue of the English invaders. My grandparents suffered under the English-controlled parliament in Westminster. If they were caught speaking Welsh they would be cruelly punished sometimes physically but more deviously “Psychologically” so that they were conditioned to bow and scrape to the tune of “The Master Race”My mother who was born in 1917 continued to touch her forelock to any English person… Read more »

Richard 1
Richard 1
3 months ago

It’s great to see the english right wing so rabid about running Wales down (again). Bottom of the heap for 700 years we have to be put back in our place or the whole UK will unravel. Bring it on. 

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

Insecure or what? One wouldthink that someone who hung out with the fascists and flat-earthers would be accustomed to ridicule.

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Kerry, Bullies like that only thrive when there’s a ready supply of victims. However if the victims turn rough the bully feels cheated, threatened and wronged ! Topsy turvy old world those damaged souls inhabit.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
3 months ago

Keep it up Mr Montgomery, we are not going anywhere. Publishing an article belittling another language is considered journalism is it? You really are quite the snowflake, as your right-wing ilk oh so wittily put it. You have picked on the wrong target chump, starting to regret it yet?

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
3 months ago

I didn’t even know that this magazine existed until all this came about.So they have to resort to this sort of journalism just to let people know that they exist, says it all.

CJPh
CJPh
3 months ago

Freedom of expression, speech and opinion does not mean freedom from criticism, chappy. I don’t like the government sticking their dirty thumbs into our culture, but better they set an aim for bolstering it than curtailing it – the tacit aim of our overlords for the past few centuries. Quick thought experiment employing this rag’s logic – had Huw Edwards NOT been a Welsh-speaker, would he have risen to a more salubrious position? Or is it that his membership in a taffia clique that allowed him to leapfrog more deserving monoglots? Can’t have it both ways, bigots.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
3 months ago

So The Critic doesn’t like criticism. Sounds about right.

Tom P
3 months ago
Reply to  Ieuan Evans

This comment wins the thread!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
3 months ago

Attacks on Wales and the Welsh is the last acceptable prejudice. And those racial & ethic slights against our nation & language will never cease until those xenophobic trolls responsible are placed firmly back under their bridges where they belong.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
3 months ago

Strange that there seems to be no similar campaign against Scotland and Gaelic which is also a language spoken by a minority. Perhaps the fact that the SNP has total control and might not like it may be the reason. Perhaps that is what we need here. A Tory free Wales with (dare I say it) all Plaid MPs. The only trouble is that Plaid would need to be sorted out first.

Last edited 3 months ago by Peter Cuthbert
M.R.
M.R.
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Words fail me, all I can think is here we go again, another opinionated moron being given editorial (and breathing) space to spout the stupidest vilest rubbish.

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